This product development company is working to make Asheville “a great place for tech”

The Anthroware office in the Hatch AVL building

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AVLToday has partnered with HATCH AVL, an Asheville non-profit entrepreneurial ecosystem to help share stories of local startups and founders, called HATCHtoday.

We wanted to get a look inside of some Asheville’s most well-known startups, how they came to be, what they do, and what keeps them up at night.

So, we asked. And, we’ll be publishing a different startup profile every month. 

Today, we’re featuring Anthroware, a full-service design and development agency which creates technology solutions in the same ‘user-obsessed way’ that physical products are developed.

Co-founders Jason Stewart (left) + Jon Jones (right) | terriclarkphotography.com

Here’s an Q&A with Jon Jones, co-founder and CEO.  

Describe your business:

We are your trusted product development team that will put rocket boosters on your project.  We use a mix of entrepreneurs, artists and bad-ass engineers to build amazing software products; like an on-demand innovation team.

What makes your business different from others in the market?

We are a product development company, NOT a software development company.  The end product is software, but we share the delivery risk of what should be built.  A lot of our partners come to us with a business use case or an idea, and we work with them (and the people who will be actually using the software) to craft a product that hits the bullseye.  The data and evidence we gather in market analysis and user research helps us focus in on key workflows and details that delight the end users and drive adoption.

What big problem does your business solve?

It’s crazy, but a lot of things still get built that don’t solve an impactful pain point, or aren’t user focused.  Software like this is frustrating, hard to use, and doesn’t carry enough benefit to justify the cost.

It’s our mission to stop the madness of ’software development’ by treating every project like a product. The products we build have a tested market, a life-level pain point that needs to be addressed, and a solution that delights the people that need it.  Easy to say, hard to do.

Year founded?

2013

Who are your clients/consumers?

We work with any business that needs an on demand innovation team.  Sometimes that means working with startups with big ideas, or sometimes its big enterprise companies that recognize that innovation can be tough in a large established business.  We work with clients in Boston, Austin, Charleston, and a few here locally (Like Mission Health Systems).

How have you funded your growth to date?

Jason (co-founder) and I put about $1,500 in our bank account back in 2013 to pay a designer for some mockups.  We’ve grown basically on cashflow ever since.  We did find an awesome banking partner at First Citizens several years ago, and that has been a huge help.  We’ve also worked with Mountain Biz Works recently to help fund our growth.  We are very proud of the way we’ve grown.

Who is/are your founder(s)? If more than one, How did they meet?

Jason Stewart (CTO) and Jon Jones (CEO) met while working as engineers for a big consulting company.  They worked on the same team, were frustrated with the same things, and wanted to do it differently.

What is a stat/fact about your business you want to share?

There are a lot of things; if I had to pick one then I’d say that it’s because ‘product development’ mindset is so rare, and even more scarce is a team that can do all the parts really well.  If I could pick two things, then my second would be that we are competing on the national stage out of Asheville for business and talent and that means things like average salary is over $80k yearly.  We care about seeing this town become a great place for tech, valuing our people is a big part of that.

What is your company’s 5-year plan?

Success in five years will mean that we’re larger AND have kept the same healthy culture.  Who knows, maybe a presence in another city? Developing our own products?  You’ll just have to stay tuned.  Whatever it is, it’ll be fun.

Why did you choose Asheville?

Asheville is an amazing place to live.  It’s full of creative people.  Creativity is needed in a massive way in the product development world.  We feel that the talent here is smart, the town has a draw of its own (helpful for recruiting people to the area).  We know we can lean into the wacky, fun, creative side of this place to solve really hard problems.

What are you the proudest of?

I’m very proud of my team.  They consistently punch above their weight and create amazing, impactful and beautiful things.  They do it with integrity and passion.  I love coming to work every day because of the people.

Wand more HATCHtoday? Read our features on Cloud for Good, LoLo + Plum Print